Justin Karcher

Once That First Bullet Goes Past Your Heart

2 AM outside Essex St Pub and things got crazy pretty fast
And my friend Steve cracked open a Dionysian fire hydrant
With his bike lock and Chardonnay started spraying everywhere
And it was volcanic, like that orgy scene in the Matrix Reloaded
Man...it was beautiful, especially when the baristas we were with
Took off their skins and started dancing with the skeletons in their closets
We were all feeling a little feisty cause Bernie lost New York
And I kept trying to tell everyone the Illuminati always win the election
But people cling to unobtainable dreams and sometimes you gotta take a bullet
For those you love, give them pillows or cough syrup so they can dream peacefully
Like feverish newborns and maybe at the end of the day, we should just let them party
And hopefully things will work out for the best – well at some point during the night
A large group of disenfranchised hipsters came marching down Rhode Island St
Waving bed bug blankets in the air and singing songs about student-loan debt
It’s funny that the American Dream is active mainly at night and usually bites people
While they’re drunk or dropping out of the sky like huge angels
It’s not as romantic as it sounds and we have the marks to prove it
Look, my generation is stripping down all the way to its skeptical nakedness
Lame and deformed, some of us crawling about on crutches
Crawling around in filth like the other disobedient worms
Ass and cunt bare and on display and the voices of the slave market surround us
This is when things start to get scary, when the moonlight creeps into our stomachs
And dies quietly like a Chinese seamstress that night I locked my keys in the trunk
Cause I was trying to put Steve’s bike in there cause he was too drunk to ride home
And I worried he would ride into a parked car and break his teeth
Which would ruin his nice smile, the same smile that walked into the polling place
To vote for a new kind of America well, maybe what we want is not all it’s cracked up to be Either way he had to ride home drunk cause it wouldn’t fit in my trunk
Like it was a Redwood or something and I had to walk home to get my backup keys
Which I keep in the mailbox that never receives any important mail
No postcards from exes experiencing Europe for the first time and missing me
Just an emptiness that sometimes you can’t put into words
So I get my keys and walk back to my car rotting in the pre-dawn light
Like the vegetables you buy when planning a dinner for two that’ll never happen 

Vomiting Into a Toilet is Democracy in Action

God is feeding dust storms to all his little animals
Most of us are hooting and hollering in three-second spurts
A group of Jack-in-the-box cheerleaders on our last springs
Cause Sam’s standing atop the walnut wood coffee table
Looking like a strung out Statue of Liberty
And declaring, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,
Yearning to let go and soar, yearning for a better lifestyle...”
Some partygoers get a little crazy and tear the city apart
The decaying industrial factories along the waterfront go up in flames
Later in the night Sam gets to the point of being so upset
That he’s throwing up like a baby and I rub his back like a good friend
I’m also holding his Salvation Army sports coat close to my heart
So that it doesn’t get covered in vomit and I have to laugh
Cause all I see when I look at him is a sweaty Statue of Liberty
Hunched over the Atlantic and emptying out all our dreams
Like an oil tanker with slit wrists coming to terms with its own crudeness
And when he’s done puking I help him up and we go outside for some air
Zombie chauffeurs in fedoras are shuffling our friends into stretch limos
And we know we’ll never see them again...if we could, we would jump
Into puddles of American tears and splash them to the sky
Like dynamite breaking down a door...maybe God would hear us then 

Love Should Be Such A Beautiful Fuckin' Thing

A honeybee has to travel over 55,000 miles
And has to visit approximately 2 million flowers
Just to make 1 pound of honey
I’m the same way having traveled
Over 55,000 grueling miles
Over mountains of hormones as big as the sky
Having visited the beds of approximately 2 million people
Men and women and monsters and mermaids
And I can say without a shadow of a doubt
That some honey tastes like cat piss 

Justin Karcher is a playwright and poet living in Buffalo, NY. He is the Co-Artistic Director of Theater Jugend as well as its Playwright-in-Residence. He is the author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell from Ghost City Press. Recent works have been published in 3:AM Magazine, The Buffalo News, Plenitude Magazine, Melancholy Hyperbole, Foundlings, and more. He is the winner of the 2015 Just Buffalo Literary Center members' writing competition. He tweets @Justin_Karcher.